Canadian ice dance champions and 2008 world silver medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir withdrew Thursday from the upcoming Skate Canada competition in Ottawa.
Virtue, 19, wasn't healthy enough to compete at the Oct. 30-Nov. 2 event after undergoing surgery to relieve pain in her shins brought on by chronic exertional compartment syndrome, a condition that stems from overtraining.
"I'm so lucky that it's something that could be fixed," Virtue told CBCSports.ca. "I'm already feeling so much better, and the surgery was just about two and a half weeks ago, so that's encouraging at least.
"I should be back on the ice fairly quickly. I just can't wait."
Virtue and Moir, who both hail from London, Ont., hope to return for the NHK Trophy competition in Japan at the end of November. That's the last of six stops on the ISU Grand Prix tour.
Virtue said her surgeon had "great things to say" after a checkup on Wednesday, but since the healing process varies for each athlete, she's not sure when she'll be able to return to workouts. That leaves her status up in the air for the event in Japan.
"We'd love to be there. [The NHK Trophy] is one of our favourite competitions," Virtue said. "But I can't rush the healing process. I just have to take it easy and gradually increase the training. If we're ready to go, we'll be there for sure."
Moir, 21, is working out at the team's training site in Detroit.
"I’ve been working both on and off the ice to keep in shape," Moir said in a statement. "I’ve been focusing on developing more power and speed, because you have to skate well on your own, as well as skating well with your partner. We hope to be ready to compete at NHK Trophy as planned, and we are definitely looking forward to the rest of the season."
A pair of pairs competitors out
Thursday's announcement marked the second time in a week that a Canadian team has withdrawn from Skate Canada.
Last Friday, reigning national pairs champions Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay pulled out to give Langlois more time to recover from surgery on a fractured fibula.
Also on Tuesday, men's singles skater Christopher Mabee announced he's taking the season off.
Virtue and Moir enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2007-08, their second at the senior level. They won gold at Skate Canada, the Four Continents championships and the Canadian championships, and took silver at the NHK Trophy and the world championship in Sweden.
Virtue said she began experiencing pain in her shins last November, but that it didn't affect her and Moir's performances during the season.
"It didn't bother me when I was competing, with the adrenaline and everything," she said. "Plus, at that point, the pain was nowhere near what it was [this] summer. It didn't hamper our skating."
Doctors have assured Virtue that the surgery should solve the problem for good.
"I won't be 100 per cent sure of that until I get training again, and until we're training at our max, but the surgery has been so successful in so many cases with other athletes," Virtue said.
The ISU Grand Prix season kicks off Thursday with the Skate America competition in Everett, Wash. Allie Hann-McCurdy and Michael Coreno are the lone Canadian ice dance entry.
CBC Sports will broadcast live coverage of Skate America beginning with the compulsory dance segment on Friday (CBCSports.ca, 6 p.m. ET).